K-Fried-C: Killer Joe’s Reflection of Human Interaction in the Age of Social Media

K-Fried-C: Killer Joe’s Reflection of Human Interaction in the Age of Social Media

Killer Joe
Written by Tracy Letts
Directed by William Friedkin

Killer Joe

Social media has literally changed the entire world. From creating uncountable communities great and small, to expanding our reach and allowing connections the world over, to creating billions of collars of customer data, social media is an ever-evolving juggernaut that reworks the fabric of society in a heartbeat.

As social media changes how we interact with each other online, the effects spread to our offline interactions. Character dynamics in stories reflect society, and as culture curves towards more online activity and more online influence, it is reflected in print and film. The expansion and fragmentation of social media is reflected in the Smith family in Killer Joe, as the genie is unleashed and cannot be contained, forever changing their lives in unexpected and tragic ways.

The Smith family relationships are already fractured as the film begins. Ansel is on his second wife, Sharla, and their favorite hobby is being disgusted at each other. Chris begins the film being thrown out of his mother’s place, having committed violence against his mother after she stole his drugs, causing him to owe far too much money to a local gangster. And Dottie is always in her own little world, rapidly switching from childlike innocence to implausible omnipresent knowledge at the drop of a hat.

Instead of “likes” and “retweets”, the Smith family deals in “anger” and “screaming” They are the living embodiment of getting into a political argument on Facebook, where suddenly your relatives that you’ve loved forever start spouting abhorrent viewpoints that make you question their humanity. The Smiths scream and some openly hate each other. Chris and Sharla do nothing but scream insults at one another, barely containing their contempt to just throttle the other. As internet discourse takes over, the veil that polite society limits such squabbles to sniping and occasional remarks is long abandoned. In order to get any point across, the easiest way is to yell and scream the loudest. As the family’s arguments increase in volume, the screaming gets louder and more violent. Like online, no one filters what they think, everyone just ramps things up.
Killer Joe
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John Carter (Review)

John Carter

aka John Carter of Mars

Written by Andrew Stanton, Mark Andrews, and Michael Chabon
Directed by Andrew Stanton

John Carter of Mars
As you might expect, I’m a rather big fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs and his Barsoom stories. I have the whole series in old out of print volumes culled from bookstores across the country. I have many other Burroughs books and other pulp novels. I have the Guide to Barsoom and some other books where Martians show up, and some of the old Marvel comics. You might say I like this crazy fantasy stuff. So, yes, I was excited that we were finally getting our big screen Barsoom film. Then it got renamed John Carter.
John Carter of Mars
After 100 years, A Princess of Mars is finally coming to the big screen (if you ignore Asylum’s DTV Princess of Mars…) as John Carter. John Carter. No “Of Mars”, no “A Princess of Mars”, no nothing. Add to that all the other abysmal marketing Disney did for the film, and suddenly the rumors that this will be the biggest box office bomb in the history of the planet and the red planet as well started to spring up. “Whatever,” I said, because I’ll let the movie speak for itself. And the movie has finally spoken. And it’s good. Not excellent, but good. Good enough that John Carter (of Mars, dammit!) should be doing better at the box office than it is tracking. Good enough that the naysayers were wrong, even if John Carter (of Mars, dammit!) does lose a lot of money, it is not because John Carter (of Mars, dammit!) failed.

That is not to say there isn’t any problems. There are. Some are pretty big. But I’ll get to most of them. But a simple review like this right after watching on opening night doesn’t do John Carter (of Mars, dammit!) justice, so rest assured there will be another, longer, super detailed, mega-ultra-hyper-giga-supreme-double-secret-comprehensive review once John Carter (of Mars, dammit!) is on DVD and I can screencap and watch a bajillion times to my heart’s content.
John Carter of Mars

John Carter (Taylor Kitsch) – The fighting man of Mars with the super jumping powers and the getting into everyone’s business powers. I will say making John Carter a reluctant hero is boring, that’s been overplayed since the 90s. And capitalizing it with him having a dead wife and kid just makes it even more boring. None of that junk is in the book, John Carter is just a dude who fights. No one needs a giant backstory. I didn’t start this website because a movie killed my family, sometimes things just are.
Dejah Thoris (Lynn Collins) – Now, I did not like what they did with John Carter, but I did like what they did with Dejah Thoris, making her a much stronger female character who still has the poise and confidence of a princess, even if she does human things from time to time. She’s also not afraid to fight for her country, the Dejah Thoris of the books does not fight at all and is more of a proud trophy that half the planet is trying to kidnap and marry.
Tars Tarkas (Willem Dafoe) – Jeddak of the Tharks and the guy who finds John Carter after he gets his ass to Mars. Helps Carter in order to help his secret daughter, Sola.
Sola (Samantha Morton) – Thark female assigned to care for John Carter, is treated as a screw up by the evil woman Sarjoka. Is unaware that Tars Tarkas is her father.
Woola (CGI) – Martian dog assigned to keep watch on John Carter, instead becoming his loyal companion. Woola’s best scene (and one of the more charming scenes in the film) is when he’s first introduced, as it both gives us a look at his character and is entertaining as well.
Matai Shang (Mark Strong) – The leader of the Holy Therns aka White Martians aka the bad guys. While not originally in the original book (Matai and his buddies show up in books 2 and 3) he’s here causing trouble to make a bigger, more cohesive arc between a planned trilogy. Matai Shang and his ilk are more technologically advanced than in the books and have a far more sinister origin and goal.

John Carter of Mars
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More John Carter of Mars casting

Three new names for John Carter of Mars!

Thomas Haden Church, rumored to be Tars Tarkas not long ago, has been confirmed in Pixar’s John Carter of Mars as Tal Hajus, one of the evil Green Martian Tharks. He was the Jeddak when John carter first came to Mars and is eventually killed by Tars Tarkas. But the synopsis for the character given says he is “an ambitious and vicious Thark warrior who is biding his time to be a ruler.” Does that mean a plot change?

Also joining the cast is Mark Strong as Matai Shang, leader of the Holy Therns (the White Martians) I believe they are only in the second and third books (I don’t remember them in the first, but I could be wrong) so there is either foreshadowing, or they are combining stories and making it way confusing.

The third new name is James Purefoy as Kantos Kan, the Red Martian John Carter befriends while stuck in a gladiator-like event, who is a captain in the Helium (a Red Martian city) army.